What Do You Need To Start A Glamping Business?
Recently, we recorded a podcast episode with Julian Szumowski about a glamping business he is starting. Julian has started numerous, successful business and charity ventures in the past, including Biznes Boxing Polska.
His newest venture in glamping is called Planeta Glamping (the website might not be active yet, as of writing this).
With the help of Julian and some of our own research, we’ve made a short list of things you need to think about if you want to open your very own glamping business.
If you’re not sure what glamping is, check out our post for an explanation and examples (coming soon).
Location, location, location
Glamping enthusiasts love nature. But setting up a nice glamping tent in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature may not be enough to attract paying customers. As with all things real estate, location matters.
A “sweet spot”, if you will, may be something like 10 km away from a resort town. This is far enough away that it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere, but close enough that you don’t feel stranded and can still visit attractions that are available in the town.
Location is one thing, but property rights are another. Before you go searching for some land to use for your glamping business, consider what form of ownership in the land you want to have. Do you want to buy the land so you have full control over it? Do you want to lease some rights to the land for less up-front costs and an easier escape strategy if you turn out to not be as profitable as you’d have hoped? Maybe you want to find a land owner that is willing to be more of a “partner” in your business and only share in the profits in exchange for letting you use their land? Each form has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Tents, infrastructure, and utility buildings
Choosing tents is probably one of the more enjoyable steps in planning a business like this. There are many interesting types and styles to choose from!
But remember, tents are not everything.
Like Julian opted to do, you likely will want to build some type of foundation and surrounding deck for your tent(s), as well as find ways to bring all the standard amenities most homes have, including:
- fresh, running water;
- electricity; and
These costs start to add up, but this is glamorous camping, after all! The standards of your site should be quite high.
You may want to build a nice, central toilet/shower facility that can service multiple tents, and you should plan on creating places for bonfires and barbeques.
To make your campsite more attractive to potential customers, you can build an on-site sauna (as Julian plans to), a hot tub, or a swimming pool.
Although not strictly essential, and it may seem to kill the “camping” aspect of glamping, most customers will definitely want to have electricity and Wi-Fi. For electricity, your glamping site may be near some power lines and with a few calls to a utility company, you may be able to hook up directly to the local electric grid.
For Wi-Fi, likely your only option will be the hope that you are in the range of a 4G cell tower. If so, it’s just a matter of buying a wireless internet plan and 4G modem/router from whichever provider that tower belongs to.
One big distinguishing feature between glamping and normal camping is the interior design of the tents.
Glamping tents tend to have real beds, wood-burning stoves, lighting and flooring. All while maintaining a rustic, log cabin-esque vibe.
Don’t forget about decorations and items that will make your guests’ stay pleasant. Both should fit in with the atmosphere of the tent. Show good taste and a sense of aesthetics. It’s probably a good idea to decorate your tent(s) in a traditional style of the local area.
Some nice finishing touches that both look good and add activities for your customers include a telescope for stargazing (if the tent is in an open area), binoculars that can be used to observe birds (e.g. if the tent is in a forest), and a themed atlas (which you purchase or even make yourself!) that highlights the local area.
Always remember the “glamorous” aspect of “glamping”.
This is not a survival camp for your customers.
Try to think ahead and assume your customers will not bring any of their own supplies. Things like:
- soft toilet paper,
- wood for burning in the fireplace,
- gas cylinders for cookers,
- basic toiletries,
- fresh towels,
should always be kept in stock for arriving customers.
Even the most beautiful glamping place can get 0 customers if nobody knows about it.
Nowadays, tourist websites (including those dedicated to glamping) and social media are of key importance. Dedicate a lot of time to listing your glamping site on as many booking websites as possible and making your listings very picture-heavy and informative, especially when you’re just getting started and don’t have many bookings.
Before you take the leap…
Glamping is a business where you need to know the tourism market, and to some extent the real estate market.
- Check what formalities are required in your country.
- Take into account the seasonality of the region you intend to glamping in. Sometimes you may have to shut down for some seasons, just because there are not enough customers, or they are not willing to pay enough for you to be profitable.
- As with all investments, it is not a good idea to risk any money you can’t afford to lose. Before you invest your life savings in buying a 200-acre campsite (just to be clear, we do NOT recommend doing that!), see if you can test out your idea on a smaller scale.
- The temptation to constantly buy new, wonderful elements is huge. Remember to keep a level head and to prioritize keeping your glamping site safe for guests and making money over having the newest, nicest equipment.
This is only a brief overview of what it takes to start a glamping business, but we hope you found it useful! Stay tuned, we might be able to convince Julian to visit us in the next few years to check in on how his business is doing!
Speaking of Julian’s business, don’t forget to check out Planeta Glamping!
Did we miss something? Share your thoughts in a comment below!
Feature image from Jonas Dücker on Unsplash